Frank Jamison




All things were together. Then mind came and arranged them.

In the depth of sand is a memory of grain and grind,
whether ocean-floored-cough-up or mountain-top-wear-down.
Sandstone, for all its attempts at permanence,
that fluttery thing we admire but can’t nail down,
scales off and sifts to the ground,
no higher than last year’s leaf mold,
a shadow of what it was before the drop.
It’s hard to know whether the ocean floor
is very much different from The Cumberland Plateau,
or whether Cape San Blas ever filled the Big South Fork,
and hard to say whether deep sand is a deeper memory
or simply the larger accumulation of instances
like one or two words from a long conversation.
Heraclitus said: Nature likes to hide itself.
And this too: The path up and down is one and the same.
And it’s true of these quartzy bits, once down,
indistinguishable in the milieu.
Though sand, like memory,
is granular and susceptible to selection.


Frank Jamison’s work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Arkana, Avalon Literary Review, Big Muddy, DASH Literary Journal, El Portal, Evening Street Review, Flights, Glint Literary Journal, Literally Stories, The MacGuffin, The Midwest Quarterly, Moon City Review, Nimrod, The Penmen Review, Pennsylvania English, The Phoenix, Plainsongs Poetry Magazine, Press Pause Press, The Round, Spoon River Poetry Review, South Carolina Review, Two Hawks Quarterly, The Wax Paper, and many others. His book of poems, Marginal Notes, was published in 2001, and his book of poems, Songs of Unsung People, was published in 2021. Jamison’s poems have won the Robert Burns/Terry Semple Memorial Poetry Prize and the Libba Moore Gray Poetry Prize. He has also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and is a member of the Tennessee Mountain Writers and the Knoxville Writers’ Guild.